A 5G phone may sound enticing, but before you spend premium money on a 5G device, you’ll want to know which 5G phones have versatile 5G connectivity—meaning they can connect to both low-band and mmWave spectrums. Versatile 5G phones will enjoy faster 5G speeds than those that can only connect to low-band, or sub-6Hz, technology—this is because mmWave spectrums offer faster 5G speeds.
A versatile 5G phone may not matter too much if you’re an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, since both of these majors use mostly low-band frequencies (for now). But customers of Verizon, which has prioritized deploying mmWave, may want to invest in one of the 5G phones on this list.
These 5G phones will get you faster 5G speeds:
iPhone 12 series
All four of the new iPhone 12 models—the iPhone 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max—are compatible with low-band and mmWave 5G spectrums. And that’s not all—these iPhones come equipped with antennas that encircle the frame of the phone in order to increase the efficiency of a 5G signal. The iPhone 12 mini starts at just $699 and the iPhone 12 is a cool $799—this is awesome news for 5G lovers who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a new 5G phone.
Conversely, if you’re always wanting the latest and greatest tech, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models are two of the best phones on the market, with incredible cameras, a powerful processor, and a beautiful display. Check out the specs, features, and plans for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro below.
Samsung Galaxy S20+
Of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S20 5G series, the entry-tier S20 can only connect to low-band frequencies. The mid-tier S20+, on the other hand, can access both low- and high-band spectrums, giving you a bigger display and faster 5G speeds for just $200 more. The Samsung Galaxy S20+ is one of the most sophisticated and high-performing devices you can get. You can’t go wrong with this powerful and responsive smartphone. It has a dynamic AMOLED display, a sleek design, and an excellent triple-camera system. You can learn more about the Galaxy S20+ below, as well as browse Samsung Galaxy S20+ plans.
Samsung Galaxy Note20 & Note20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra are both excellent 5G phones for lovers of the Note series, which includes a smart and responsive S pen that allows customers to use air commands, write on the screen, and take photos from a distance. The Ultra is particularly good for gamers as it has a huge screen and high refresh rate, not to mention its 12GB of RAM. Compare features and phone plans for the Note20 and Note20 Ultra below.
Google Pixel 5
The last versatile 5G phone on this list is the Google Pixel 5. And don’t let its modest specs fool you—it’s a great phone, especially for fans of the Pixel series. A simple and functional design, a great double-camera camera system, a long-lasting battery, and a high refresh rate make the Google Pixel 5 a great choice for customers looking to get fast 5G speeds.
How to choose a 5G phone
Which carrier do you have?
When shopping around for a 5G phone, you’ll first want to consider which cell phone carrier you have. As mentioned, different carriers use varying 5G technologies to provide you with service. Low-band technology, or sub-6GHz, offers slower 5G speeds but covers a much wider area, whereas mmWave technology delivers blazing-fast 5G speeds but far less coverage.
Here’s the breakdown by major carrier:
- Verizon: both mmWave and low-band
- T-Mobile: mostly low-band deployments (sub-6GHz)
- AT&T: mostly low-band deployments (sub-6GHz)
Because Verizon has emphasized mmWave 5G technology during its initial rollout, Verizon’s 5G speeds perform much faster than AT&T and T-Mobile’s. If you have a Verizon 5G phone plan, you’ll want to make sure you get a 5G phone that can connect to both technologies so that you can get take advantage of those blazing fast speeds. Conversely, if you have an AT&T or T-Mobile 5G plan, getting a versatile 5G phone isn’t necessary just yet. You could also go for a low-band-compatible 5G phone like the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 FE, or OnePlus 8 Pro.
The same logic applies to MVNOs and the networks they run on. If you’re on a Verizon MVNO that offers 5G access, such as Spectrum Mobile, it might be worth it to check out the 5G phones that can connect to both 5G frequencies. If you’re on a T-Mobile MVNO, like Mint Mobile, or an AT&T MVNO, such as Cricket Wireless, then you’ll get slower 5G speeds no matter which 5G phone you choose.
Do you have 5G coverage where you live?
Of course, none of this matters if your carrier doesn’t provide 5G coverage in your area. Check out the 5G coverage guides below to learn more about each carrier’s coverage:
Other considerations when choosing a 5G phone
When choosing the right 5G phone for you, you’ll want to consider your budget. Set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for your new 5G phone and use that maximum price to narrow down your search. You’ll then want to compare features and specs, such as:
- Phone size
- Display quality
- Battery capacity